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Ideas without limits

Demographic change, an increasing share of female employment, globalization and immigration are changing our working world. Diversity is a competitive factor for businesses and associations, for states, communities and conferences as well.

he faces of 30 white men, all of these lecturers at a conference titled "Applied History" held at the Stanford University in Silicon Valley, flew around the world via Twitter and blew up in the organizer's face. Niall Ferguson acknowledged that his conference had absolutely lacked diversity. "Everybody was keenly aware that it was too white and too male," he told the New York Times. The problem had been extensively discussed and women had been invited – but only one had been able to come.

"Many hosts and organizers have simply not yet understood that it's significant to have women on the podium," said Jeannine Koch, Director re:publica. And those who have understood this as an absolute requirement often start too late with searching for women for their convention. She's not only concerned with female competency, she's looking for justice and equal sharing. Women make up 52 percent of the population, but they aren't adequately represented in boardrooms and public debate. Koch is certain that gender parity and diversity must be attributed more relevance in society and at high-profile conferences such as the re:publica. "In order to create equivalence here, we need to review if we are fulfilling the quotas we set ourselves." From May 2 to 4, 2018 in Berlin, this relates not only to women, but to "People of Colour" and "Challenged People" as well. Koch: "It is our intention to reflect the world at the re:publica as it really is: divers!"

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Environmental issues have no borders. Impressions from the “Bonn Zone” at the UN Climate Change Conference 2017.


„Gäste wollen sich wohlfühlen. Um das zu erreichen und die Bedürfnisse herauszufinden, ist es von Vorteil, wenn das Personal unterschiedlichste Herkunft, Hautfarbe, Altersklassen, Geschlechter, Religionen und körperliche Verfassung hat“, sagt Dr. Anja Wagner, Leiterin Sales & Marketing im Best Western Plus Palatin Kongresshotel in Wiesloch. Um die Bedürfnisse körperlich eingeschränkter Gäste zu erkennen, hat das Haus für drei Monate eine Praktikantin eingestellt, die selbst im Rollstuhl sitzt und Schwachstellen analysiert. „Ich schreibe einen Bericht über die Barrierefreiheit des Hotel- und Veranstaltungsbereichs“, erzählt Alisa Falkenstein und fährt jeden Winkel des Hotels ab, um die Befahrbarkeit zu überprüfen. Neben der Bodenbeschaffenheit, ist z.B. die Höhe von Ablagen im Hotelzimmer von Bedeutung. Falkenstein: „Die Aufgaben sind vielfältig. Man schaut, dass ich überall dabei und Teil vom Ganzen bin.“

Diversity stands for various personality traits, lifestyles or designs, i.e. gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, disability, religion and philosophy of life. In terms of social trends, developments such as demographic change, the increasing share of women in the work world as well as globalization and immigration are creating a new heterogeneity on the employment market and in the labor force. That makes diversity management an essential factor in competitive strategies pursued by businesses and associations, states and communities. Denmark's capital recently proudly announced "Copenhagen 2021". The eleven-day mega-sized event unifies the "WorldPride" and "Euro-Games", to which some 500,000 attendees are expected for human rights debates, inclusive sport events and an extensive pride parade. "Copenhagen has a strong history of supporting and promoting LGBTQ rights (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer)," said Mikkel Aarø-Hansen, CEO Wonderful Copenhagen, and Lars Christian Østergreen, CEO Copenhagen 2021, added: "We are inviting people from all over the world to Copenhagen for a massive celebration of love, sportsmanship and diversity."

In addition to Denmark, the EU-countries Estonia, Finland and France as well as 15 other member states have Diversity- Charta-Initiatives coordinated by the European Commission. The issue is further enhanced by the new EU-directive on CSR reporting obligations. It requires capitalmarket oriented corporations to report on social and employee issues – including diversity concepts in administrative, management and supervisory entities.

Awareness of diversity management is increasing in HR departments: the aim is not only to tolerate the diversity of staff members, but to use it towards achieving corporate objectives. In their 2017 study "The Mix That Matters: Innovation Through Diversity", the Boston Consulting Group and the TU München found that "companies with diverse management teams are often more innovative". And McKinsey's 2018 report "Delivering through diversity" confirmed the global relevance of the link between diversity — defined as a greater proportion of women and a more mixed ethnic and cultural composition in the leadership of large companies — and company financial outperformance. "The most important component of good management is ensuring 'diversity of mind'" said Larry Fink on McKinsey. For the CEO of the BlackRock investment company, it won't suffice to merely count how many men and women from how many nations are on the company payroll. The crucial issue is: "Do we have an organization with diversity of mind? I think this is where most companies fall down." In many instances, you have groupings of people with identical ideals, education and origin. "Firms fail when you have groupthink. You generally have groupthink when you have replicants all around you," said Fink. "If you hire all business majors, all engineers, or all people who have one field of expertise, you’re going to fall down."

Bastian Fiedler is occupied with diversity and recruiting. "In reaction to increasing internationalization, we need to redefine our recruiting processes. These are much more complex today," said the CEO m:con Mannheim. Employees can choose the company they want to work for – and not vice versa. He is convinced that a diversified team is an asset for any company and an incentive to apply for a job. For this reason, m:con joined the "Charta of Diversity" in 2013.

The corporate initiative "Charta of Diversity" founded is a fundamental declaration on the economic benefit of diversity and tolerance, fairness and appreciation in the work world and society. By signing this declaration, organizations commit themselves to show all staff members identical respect. Its membership today is at 2,800 businesses and institutions representing 9.4 million employees. "We will certainly not stop midway, we will continue mobilizing fellow campaigners to strengthen our joint efforts aimed at achieving equality," said Ana-Cristina Grohnert, Chairwoman Charta of Diversity and member of the board, Allianz Deutschland AG. "As corporate initiative, we are well aware of our responsibilities, both towards society in general and Germany as business location in particular." 28 of the 30 Dax-listed corporations including BASF SE and BMW AG have signed the Charta; others are ABB Deutschland or the Max-Planck Society. The Charta of Diversity's database lists an array of Best-Practice examples for Diversity Management.

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Propelling the blowup was a tweet by Ana Lucia Araujo, a history professor in Washington.

According to the study on "Diversity in Deutschland", two of three businesses are not prepared for the foreseeable changes caused by a diversified work world. On the other hand, 65 percent of these are aware that the inclusion of diverse lifestyles, cultural perspectives and experiences are to their advantage. It's not only that multifaceted teams are more innovative and creative, they are also better capable of adapting to different target groups and foreign markets. Messe Berlin's statement on the Charta of Diversity is in line with this philosophy: "The high degree of our customers' diversity requires an identically high degree of employee diversity. In context with our Diversity concept, we appreciate and encourage the uniqueness of everyone." Messe Berlin has signed the Charta, as have Messe Düsseldorf and Messe Frankfurt, NH Hoteles and Steigenberger Hotels, the Kongresshotel Potsdam and the Estrel Hotel Berlin.

The Charta of Diversity's 2018 calendar of events lists many options to get involved. In May, there's the Workshop CHALLENGE.Lab, which in the scope of the Diversity Challenge is targeted at younger employees seeking to promote diversity within their organizations, as well as the symposium on the gender issue and IT at the University of Heilbronn or the DiverseCity Reception Colorful Frankfurt. The 2018 highlight will be the 6th German Diversity Day on June 5 of this year. At the 2017 edition of this Deutscher Diversity Tag, the Charta registered 1,300 activities across Germany aimed at promoting diversity. Aletta Countess von Hardenberg, CEO Charta der Vielfalt, emphasized the significance of this event: "All over the world, fear of social diversity is being fanned and fueled; political parties are stirring up hatred against minorities, fugitives and women. It is time to show your colors and demonstrate visibly and audibly for respectful interaction with each other."


Kit Lykketoft, Director of Conventions, Wonderful Copenhagen

tw: You won WorldPride and Euro- Games event 2021. With which cities were you competing with?
Kit Lykketoft:
From the outset, a number of cities had declared interest in bidding for WorldPride. When the organisation behind Copenhagen’s bid officially announced their intention to bid in 2013, five cities were in the runup, but over the two years that the organisation campaigned prior to the actual bid, three cities pulled out of the race, and left Fort Lauderdale and Copenhagen in the final face off. In the end, Copenhagen ended up winning the bid with a 63 percent majority of the vote. As for Europride, the outset was more or less the same, with the difference that all competitors had pulled out before the final vote. This meant that Copenhagen was the only contestant to bid, and that the biggest challenge was to convince the European Gay & Lesbian Sport Federation (EGLSF) that Copenhagen’s idea to host a combined event would create a synergy effect for both events and that the Danish organisers were ambitious and visionary in their efforts to host EuroGames 2021.

What do you think: Why did Copenhagen finally win?
Copenhagen Pride is a strong brand in the international pride movement, and the organisation behind the winning bid, Pan Idræt, enjoys a strong position within the European collaboration of inclusive sports clubs. We believe that the focus on human rights and inclusion of all identities resonated very well with the visions Interpride and European Gay & Lesbian Sport Federation (EGLSF) have for where they want their organisations and their events to go in the future. The "#youareincluded" tag-line is the cornerstone of the upcoming mega-event. It is vital that Copenhagen 2021 becomes a safe and inclusive space for all groups under the acronym that all voices feel heard and that there are events planned for all identities. Also Copenhagen has a history of LGBT and inclusion and it is a city that is a beacon for human rights and for working for inclusion and acceptance of diversity. That of course gave the organisers a strong canvas to paint their visions on. People are confident, that Copenhagen can execute an event of historic proportions – both when it comes to the scale but also the level of ambition in regards to inclusion. Traditional decisive factors for international congresses and events are security and safety, access and capacities, value for money etc..

Will diversity be a locational factor in the future?
I believe that there are many factors that at the end of the day determine where to have your conference. Diversity is already one of them. Participants take an interest in the destination and often explore the specifics of the local setting.

“The meetings and events industry has been holding up the diversity flag for decades,
and PCMA as one of the strongest and most influential industry associations is driving and supporting diversity, acting as a role model for the entire market," said Andreas Klaus Span, who sits on the European Advisory Board of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). He still hears a lot of doubt and criticism about only lip service being paid across the corporate realm to the topic of diversity. “This might be true for many corners of the corporate business world, however, in my opinion, the very nature of the meetings industry is averse to such inhibitors.” Based on his professional experience as Director & Business Unit Executive, Cognitive Solution Sales & SAP HANA on Power, IBM Corporation, he knows: "The more complex the organization, the more global and challenging it is, therefore more diversity is needed to help keep up with the change." In his eyes, IBM is "heaven in the corporate world concerning diversity, as it is a requirement of our management system and selection criteria for career development, regardless of whether it touches our overall business conduit or focuses on a specific part such as the event activities we pursue." Span: "Delegates, speakers, team compositions, employed third parties, agencies acting as our look and feel wardens in such environments, and are all subject to our diversity culture."

Ben Hainsworth is as committed as Span. As member of the Board of Directors, he witnesses the rigor with which PCMA drives inclusion and diversity in the way it governs itself and in the values it expresses. The Executive Director K.I.T. Group refers to the new "PCMA Ascent initiative" to empower women, people of color, those with disabilities, and those who are LGBTQIA to find success in the meetings industry by providing training, networking, and encouragement. Hainsworth added "PCMA Ascent conveys the core message with great clarity: Diverse and inclusive businesses perform better; diverse and inclusive business events have stronger impact."  KERSTIN WÜNSCH

Vorteile von Diversity Management

Nachhaltigkeit: Das Thema Belegschaft wird in Zeiten des demografischen Wandels und des damit einhergehenden Fachkräftemangels immer entscheidender und Organisationen müssen kreativer auf diese Themen reagieren, um langfristig auf die Herausforderungen der Märkte erfolgreich reagieren zu können.
Bindung von Beschäftigten: Unternehmen und Institutionen haben eine geringere Fluktuationsrate, weil Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter sich verstanden und in ihrer Vielfalt als Persönlichkeiten geschätzt fühlen.
Effizienzsteigerung: Gemischt zusammengesetzte Teams kommen oft zu kreativeren und innovativeren Lösungen als homogene Gruppen. Ferner führen Wertschätzung und Anerkennung bei den Beschäftigten zu höherer Motivation und größerer Bereitschaft sich einzubringen.
Rekrutierung: Eine vorurteilsfreie Organisationskultur ist heute ein wichtiges Kriterium bei der Wahl des Arbeitsplatzes und damit ein wichtiger Faktor beim verstärkten Wettbewerb um qualifizierte Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter. Oft ist eine Veränderung der Rekrutierungsprozesse erforderlich, um mit neuen Wegen die besten Talente am Markt anzusprechen, zu bekommen und an die Organisation zu binden.
Imagebildung: Die Öffentlichkeit honoriert Unternehmen und Institutionen, die offen und pluralistisch denken.
Gewinnung neuer Kundinnen und Kunden im Inland: Eine heterogene Belegschaft bietet die Möglichkeit eines besseren Zielgruppenmanagements und verbessert den Kontakt zu Kundinnen und Kunden.
Erschließung neuer Märkte im Ausland: Organisationen, die Angestellte mit unterschiedlichen ethnischen Hintergründen beschäftigen, haben in Zeiten der Globalisierung größere Chancen, neue Märkte zu erschließen.
Senkung von Risiken: Schadensersatzklagen aufgrund des Allgemeinen Gleichstellungsgesetzes sind weniger wahrscheinlich, wenn eine Organisation Diversity Management umsetzt.